Improvement in A&E waiting times for long waits

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Patients in Scotland’s A&E Departments were treated faster this winter due to improved planning and additional investment.

Figures released today from Information Services Division (ISD) show a dramatic cut of 65 per cent in patients waiting more than 12 hours this winter (between October and March) than the same period last year.

This winter also saw 2,713 fewer patients waiting more than eight hours – accounting for less than one per cent of all visits.

The number of patients waiting more than four hours has fallen by 16 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “We know that our health service faces added pressure in the winter months and NHS boards must be ready to manage potential increases in demand.

“Today’s statistics show that, across Scotland’s NHS, improved planning and investment have resulted in shorter waiting times for patients at A&E.

“I am particularly pleased to see the dramatic drop in the number of patients facing long waits, which shows that improvement work is delivering substantial results.

“These improvements in A&E performance are a direct result both of the dedication and hard work of staff and our three-year unscheduled care action plan, which has seen £30 million investment, from both central and local Health Board funding, in the first year alone.

“Of course, we want to see more improvements, which is why the Scottish Government will continue to work with those health boards that need to deliver further improvement.

“There is no question that our NHS is making sustainable progress towards delivery of the September milestone target of 95 per cent of patients waiting no longer than four hours. In March this year, despite demand in A&E increasing by 6 per cent – or 8,000 – compared to last March, the proportion of patients treated within 4 hours increased from 91.9 per cent to 93.3 per cent.”

A total of five health boards achieved 98 per cent during the quarter ending March 2014, with another five boards achieving at least 95 per cent.